The night of the Grand Ball arrives and the heroes step out in style.
Flint gets to work schmoozing with the nobles. He finds himself particularly interested in Lady Larsa Bramblethorn of Everas and Senator Allenair Lamont of Atlis. The three engage in polite conversation and Flint manages to make some promising progress.
Meanwhile Olivia takes pleasure in taunting Judge Rylof and, of course, keeping an eye out for any eligible bachelors.
Victor and Olivia continue to be on bad terms, neither one speaking to or acknowledging the other. He spends his night grumpy, dodging his parents and searching for someone who wasn’t there. Despite his poor mood, he still enjoys the wine and the “company” of the beautiful women flocking to him.
Illivan cozies up to Bernard Morain, Chambord’s General and sole representative. The two share a smoke by the fountain and talk military strategy.
Epsil spots the beautiful and mysterious Viera singer from the slave auction. He wades through the crowd to find her and talk to her. Epsil learns her name is Seraph, and that she’ll be in Atlis…if he’s interested, that is.
Gabriel asks Olivia for a dance, which she accepts. He compliments her on how beautiful she looks, which Olivia responds to with complete humility, of course. Their conversation borders on uncomfortable as he asks Olivia about her intentions. He then tells her that they need to talk in private, and asks her to meet him outside at the fountain in fifteen minutes.
Olivia meets Gabriel outside and they talk. Their conversation quickly devolves into arguing, with Gabriel being the rational one for once. He tries to give her a warning, which she rudely brushes off, insulting him and pouring salt in the wound by comparing him to his brother.
After finally having enough, Gabriel shakes his head and throws a box down into the snow. “To think I was actually going to give you this…happy early birthday, Olivia.” He storms off, but not before Olivia corrects him.
“My birthday was last week! “
With Gabriel safely back in the manor, Olivia gingerly picks his present out of the snow. She dusts it off and opens the box. Inside, Olivia finds a beautiful necklace, one she recognizes as once belonging to Gabriel’s mother. Flooded with guilt, Olivia is torn between apologizing or doubling down.
She pockets the necklace and begins to head inside, when a dagger lands in front of her feet. Looking around, she sees a shadowy figure quickly duck down from the rooftops.
Olivia feels growing dread in her stomach as she enters the foyer. Gabriel is standing in the corner, looking more hurt than angry, but Olivia ignores him for the time being. Instead she rushes straight to Flint to tell him what has happened.
Flint and Olivia talk in the guest garden, where they stumble upon a fresh body tucked underneath some shrubs. They easily discern that he was stabbed to death but can’t locate the murder weapon. Knowing the issue is serious, the two decide to tell Victor.
Victor is understandably concerned, and asks Olivia to stay in the ballroom for the time being. She brushes him off, but does as he asks. Flint finds Illivan and fills him in on what has happened. The two decide to investigate.
Flint begins in the servant’s quarters. He discovers a piece of broken furniture, a chair leg, crusted with blood, which leads him to believe there is another victim somewhere in the manor. His investigation takes him to the kitchens, where he discovers yet another body in the pantry.
Meanwhile, Illivan explores the guest suites. He finds drops of blood in Bernard Morain’s room, and notes that one of his military jackets is missing a medal. He also finds a bloody handkerchief, embroidered with the letter “H”.
He continues his search and stumbles upon yet another body, this time in Ilvanis Laneron’s room. It appears he was strangled to death. It isn’t until Illivan finds the missing war medal on the ground that things begin to come together.
The party suspect Orain Hastic may be involved in the plot, but they lack the evidence to implicate him.
In the ballroom, Olivia has been freely partaking in the food and wine when the room begins to spin and everything becomes blurry and far away. She stumbles over to where Victor is standing and tries to get the words out. Thankfully, Victor immediately knows something is wrong and escorts a very quickly fading Olivia to the foyer.
Victor and Gabriel exchange some quick words, then Gabriel sets to work saving Olivia’s life. He gives her a cursory examination to determine what poison is at work, then makes up an antidote on the fly. As Olivia comes to, she is faced with Gabriel knelt beside her and Victor standing over her. Gabriel chastises her for not being more careful and expresses disappointment that she didn’t come to him after the first assassination attempt. If not for Victor’s intervention, the two would have likely started arguing again.
Gabriel says he is going to start his own investigation and heads off to the servant’s quarters to begin his questioning.
Flint and Olivia meet up and decide they need to investigate upstairs, but Olivia hesitantly reveals that she hasn’t replaced her thieves’ tools yet and that it might be trapped. Flint facepalms. Olivia knows what she has to do, and she definitely doesn’t like it.
They find Gabriel questioning the staff and he rudely asks them what they think their doing. Olivia sheepishly asks if she can borrow his thieves’ tools. He laughs, and tells her, in no uncertain terms, that it isn’t going to happen. Not in a million years.
Olivia ends up owing Gabriel two favors, but she gets her hands on his tools. They are the nicest set of thieves’ tools Olivia has ever held. She enjoys the moment.
They return to the ballroom just in time to see Illivan stroll back in, covered in blood. He tells the party that he was viciously assaulted in the broom closet by an assassin, who then jumped out a window.
Olivia and Flint go upstairs to investigate. They discover a note in the parlor wastebasket:
[ “Laneron knows our plans. He will need to be dealt with. –Howe” ]
Now knowing who hired the assassin, they continue their search and discover the assassin waiting for them in the music room. He speaks in a thick German accent and seems strangely turned-on by blood. Flint is thoroughly weirded out. They dimension door away and rejoin the group. Olivia tells Gabriel what they know and Gabriel and the other Judges confront—and arrest—Howe and Morain.
With the two schemers caught and the assassin nowhere to be found, things are safe, for the time being. Olivia returns the thieves’ tools she never got to use, and her relationship with Victor seems to be on the mend. Flint made some new acquaintances in Lady Larsa and Lord Allenair, Epsil met with the Viera, Illivan caused some mayhem…
…And all is well, for the time being.